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Fatwa on the prohibition of insulting the sanctities of the Sunnis

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Fatwa on the prohibition of insulting the sanctities of the Sunnis is the fatwa of Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on the prohibition of insulting the figures and symbols of the Sunnis and the wives of the Prophet (s). This fatwa was issued in reaction to the insult of Kuwaiti Shiite cleric Yasir al-Habib to Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (s), and the collective question of Saudi Shiite scholars.

Fatwa on the prohibition of insulting the sanctities of the Sunnis was widely reported in the 'Arab media. Also, some Shiite and Sunni religious figures considered its issuance in support of Muslim unity.

Grounds

The fatwa on the prohibition of insulting the sanctities of the Sunnis was issued following the insult of Kuwaiti Shiite cleric Yasser al-Habib to Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (s). Al-Habib had spoken several times against Aisha and 'Umar b. Khattab, who have special places among the Sunnis. In 2010, he held a celebration in London on the anniversary of the death of Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (s), and made insulting remarks against her. The celebration was broadcast on the Yasser al-Habib satellite network called Fadak. He also held a celebration on the anniversary of the death of the Second Caliph. The program was also broadcast on his satellite network.

The distribution of al-Habib’s remarks provoked the anger and protest of the Sunnis, and provoked reactions in the Islamic world, especially in the Sunni countries, and created many problems for the Shiites of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Reacting to al-Habib’s remarks, Saudi Mufti Abdul Aziz Al al-Shaykh claimed that the spread of the Shiite school in the Arab and Islamic countries had stopped and that al-Habib’s remarks were a providence from God to reveal the true heart of the Shiites.

Following these events, Saudi Shiite scholars, in a question from Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, demanded that his jurisprudential opinion be expressed on “explicitly insulting Aisha and using derogatory and insulting words against her.”

The Text of the Fatwa

Ayatollah Khamenei, in response to the question of Shiite scholars in al-Ahsa Governorate of Saudi Arabia regarding the insult to Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (s), issued a fatwa on October 29, 2010:

“Insulting figures and symbols celebrated by Sunni brethren, including the wife of the Prophet of Islam [Aisha] is prohibited. This includes the wives of all prophets, particularly the master of all prophets Muhammad (May God’s greetings be upon him and his household).” [1]

Reflections and Reactions

The fatwa condemning the insult to Sunni sanctities was followed by reflections and reactions in the media and in Arab countries. For example, al-Anba’ and al-Ra’y al-‘Aam newspapers published in Kuwait, Muhit website, al-Safir and al-Intiqad newspapers in Lebanon, al-Watan and Okaz newspapers in Saudi Arabia, al-Hayat newspaper in London, al-Shorouk newspaper in Egypt and the country’s radio and television website and some Arab satellite channels reported it.

Al-Jazeera reviewed the fatwa and its role in the unity and closeness of the followers of different Islamic schools in “Mawara’ al-Khabar” program with the presence of experts.

Various personalities in the Arab world also reacted to the fatwa condemning the insult to Sunni sanctities. For example, Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Shaykh of al-Azhar University, said in a statement that the fatwa was issued at the right time to prevent the division and closing the doors of sedition, and it expressed the interest and desire for the unity of Muslims. Lebanese religious figures too supported the fatwa, calling it a thwarter of enemy’s conspiracies. Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah in Lebanon, considered this fatwa closing the ways for those who want to disrupt the unity of the Islamic Ummah.

The Fourth International Conference on the Proximity amongst Islamic Schools of Thought in the Islamic Center of London also endorsed Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa in its closing statement.

In a statement, some Sunni representatives of Iran’s parliament called this fatwa a cause of pride and encouragement for the Sunnis of the country. The Sunni scholars of Golestan province also issued separate statements, declaring the issuance of Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa in accordance with his thoughts and actions, which deprives the enemies of the chance to make sedition.

Notes

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